KEEPING MUSCLE WHILE CUTTING
Most people make this harder than it really is. By decreasing your carbohydrate intake it forces your body to focus on fat stores as the predominate source of energy which helps you loose body fat. However carbs are essential for normal bodily functions as well as fueling those intense workouts. The trick is regulating the amount and type consumed. Healthy sources include sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, green vegetables, oatmeal, spinach and apples.
When you weight train your body uses carbohydrates as energy not fat, and if your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to use it will use your hard earned muscle for energy. Muscle tissue is made up mostly of protein, which in turn is made up of amino acids. Normally, your body does not use protein to produce energy. But if you run out of glycogen stores and no glucose is available, your body will then break down its own muscle tissue to release amino acids. These amino acids are sent to your liver, where they are converted to glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. When your body starts to use muscle tissue for energy, you lose muscle mass.
So how do you combat this? Firstly you should never “cut out” any substrate (protein, fats & carbs) completely, you only need to manipulate the ratios to achieve your desired goals.
Here are some basic rules for doing a comp diet:
1). Decrease your carbs slowly
2). Keep carbs around your training for as long as possible, it will help stop muscle wasting as you cut down.
3). Increase your protein each time you decrease your carbs, so if your body does happen to use protein for energy it can use the protein you have eaten rather than muscle
4). Always use amino’s around training for fast uptake, again they are a simple form of protein, perfect for pre,intra and post training.
5). It cannot be stressed enough that fat is essential in your quest to keep muscle while trying to lean up. Dietary fat will actually burn bodily adipose tissue and keep your metabolism in check by regulating key hormone levels. Keep fat intake at about 30 % of your total calorie intake. Good sources include avocado, nuts such as almonds, olive oil-based salad dressings, egg yolks, natural peanut butter and fatty fish like salmon.